Full disclosure: A review copy of Logic Labyrinth was provided by HABA.
We’ve got a lot of HABA games coming down the pipeline. It’s going to be a wild ride. Color It, Cloaked Cats, Karuba, 5er Finden, maybe even more after that! We’ll definitely see. We’ve covered a couple already, and so we press on to the next one: Logic Labyrinth! It’s a small game from HABA that isn’t exactly “new”, but it is exactly, “here”, so let’s get to it!
In Logic Labyrinth, you play as thieves who want to steal from a genie, a famously excellent idea that will definitely not end up with you being horribly, gratuitously cursed. So you and your fellow brain geniuses have found a magical map that has been torn to pieces by the genie, making it extremely clear that this is not a good thing you’re doing. But you press on anyways! You’ll have to reassemble this magical map if you want to steal this genie’s treasure, but it looks like one bad idea isn’t gonna stop you. Will you be able to steal money from an omnipotent magical being? Or will your opponents beat you to it?
Very little. Set the treasures nearby:
You’ll need certain sets for certain player counts:
- 2 players: Only use the single Treasure Cards.
- 3 players: Use the single and double Treasure Cards.
- 4 players: Use all of the Treasure Cards.
Shuffle and set aside the Genie Cards:
And shuffle up the Path Cards:
Give one player the die, and you should be ready to start!
This one’s not too challenging. To start a round, set out one Treasure Card from each stack in the center of the play area. Then, one player will roll the die, which will show a 3 / 4 / 5 / Genie. If a non-Genie value is rolled, each player gets that many cards. If the Genie is rolled, flip the top card of the Genie Deck, and give each player that many cards.
Then you start! Your goal is to connect all of the tiles in your hand as fast as you can. If you’re playing with a Genie card, then your produced map must also match the shape on the Genie card (rotations are fine; mirroring appears to be not-fine).
Once any player has completed their map, they can grab a Treasure! And once that happens, scramble to grab the rest! Each player can only take one Treasure Card, though. If any player is wrong, they must return their Treasure Card to the center and cannot take again.
Player Count Differences
Like many racing games, there’s no difference to the player that’s the fastest; they’ll get the top score each time. Given that this one introduces a bit of randomness, though, you’ll see the score distribution shake up a bit as players get not-first, since at lower player counts you generally either score or you don’t. I slightly prefer it at higher player counts, for that reason, since you’re incentivized to pay attention because your goal becomes grabbing a Treasure as soon as anyone finishes, not just you. It’s a slightly different game when you’re not just paying attention to yourself, and I think that’s fun. It’s not a hard preference, though; this is still fun at two players if you’re looking for something quick and don’t mind a bit of randomness.
- Kinda just pick something and hope that it sticks. I mean, it’s a speedy path-building game; you’re not really going to be able to do much more than that. If you’ve got a quick eye for identifying what goes where, that may really help you out, but otherwise you’re just going to be stuck relying on being purely faster than your opponents, which may not be a thing.
- If you’re stuck, cycle cards. Underused ability for players; discard some number of cards and draw that many more. It’s a great way to get yourself out of a “this map cannot be completed” vibe and into a more healthy “I can complete this map; I’m just too slow” vibe, which is a problem that you can actually make headway on, I assume.
- Before cycling, try pulling a few cards and rotating them just to be sure. I tend to double-check just a bit before I cycle. Otherwise you run the risk of just needing to be constantly pulling new cards the entire time, which has a penalty associated with it (just in terms of physically having to discard the card(s) and pull new cards from the deck each time).
- If you struggle with spatial reasoning, cycling might be faster than rotating. It does come down to how quickly you can process the map and see if it’s valid. If that’s not your particular forte, then it might be worth just grabbing new cards until you can find a set of cards that works.
- At higher player counts, also keep an eye on your opponents’ progress. The critical thing is knowing which of your opponents are about to crack it so that you can get that second-most-valuable card. You won’t be able to beat them to the punch (unless they just grab a less-valuable card by mistake), but you can usually get some bonus points if you’re quick enough.
- Remember that Genie cards can be rotated, but honestly your best bet is probably to avoid rotating unless your brain is really good at that sort of thing. Forcing yourself to think about even more spatial complications and rotations on top of the ones you already have to think about to win is only going to slow you down.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- Cute concept. It’s a speed path-building game! That’s pretty fun. I like both of those mechanics, and putting them together is a pretty swell setup.
- I like the art, as well. I really like how it feels like a slightly cartoony map that you’re trying to piece together! I understand that that’s the theme, but the game does a good job adhering to it.
- There’s some satisfaction to how the pieces don’t quite line up. I like that they’re often close enough that you’ll assume the cards line up properly, only to be exceedingly disappointed. It incentivizes players to pay close attention rather than my normal “good enough”, which I think is nice for a speed game. That high level of mandatory precision is appreciated.
- Extremely portable. It’s one of the smallest HABA games I’ve seen, other than the other one that I have yet to play or review. I mean they’re the same size, but that size is very small. It might be slightly larger than COLORFUL?
- Very easy to set up, as well. You only need to shuffle a couple stacks of cards and then you’re ready to go. Not a whole lot to it.
- And easy to teach! Your goal is to roll the dice, draw that many cards, and make them all connect validly before anyone else can. If you do, take the treasure as quickly as possible. That’s … most of the rules. It’s a pretty low-intensity game to pick up.
- Given how much the cards need to be picked up and shifted around, it would have been excellent if these were thin tiles or if it came with playmats for the players. It just makes the cards easier to pick up and shift around if they have a bit more actual weight to them, and I would have appreciated that. That said, I imagine that sort of thing would balloon the expense of a game beyond what they would want to charge, so I’m filing it as a Meh rather than a Con because I feel like it, while nice, would add additional barriers to the game.
- Feels like it comes down to luck a fair bit of the time. Especially if you’re doing what I describe below and just cycling one card out every time, you’re just really hoping that your number comes up. But even when you’re not, you may just happen to create a random configuration of the cards that works, and your opponent may have just led with the wrong card. It can be a bit annoying when that happens, which is part of why I think playing at higher player counts may be a bit more satisfying in that regard, since you’re also trying to build your thing while watching to see when other players are about to finish. That said, not every group of cards is solvable, and so it can be a smidge frustrating at lower player counts when your map isn’t solvable but your opponent’s is.
- It’s also a bit dissatisfying when you end up with a configuration that mostly works and you’re just cycling one card out every time. At that point it comes down to a few externalities, like “how close am I to the deck?” and “has anyone noticed that I’m cycling cards?” and “is this really the most efficient process?” and the answer to the last one is probably no, but it’s hard to commit to breaking up two to four perfectly good pieces to try and get a better configuration when there’s no guarantees.
Overall: 7 / 10
Overall, Logic Labyrinth is fun. It’s quick, which is pretty solidly one of its primary draws, for me. I’m also a big fan of its whole pathing business, so, this ends up being a hit. It’s almost like speed Carcassonne, at times, which would be a wild variant. It actually reminds me a bit of Eco-Links, a game that I think is near criminally underrated. They’re both speed-pathing games, but Eco-Links has to deal with endpoints in a way that Logic Labyrinth does not. That said, this is a fair bit simpler, so it might not be a bad way to introduce the concept of speed games to players (though I think HABA’s other title, In A Flash Firefighters does that in a more kid-friendly way). Your mileage may vary. I will say that it can be frustrating given how few path elements there are when you see another player essentially guess a valid configuration from the start or when you see a player just cycling through the deck until they get the piece that they want, but those are largely edge cases in an otherwise pleasant real-time game. I do wish that the cards were thicker quality (maybe even tiles), but I think that this was a decision made to keep the cost of the game relatively low. All adds up to a game that I may not necessarily be raring to play all the time, but one I’ve always enjoyed when it has hit the table. If you’re a big fan of real-time games or path-building games and you want to seek out a bit of treasure, I have had fun with Logic Labyrinth; maybe you will, too!